How to Set Up an Efficient Family Message Center

Back-to-school checklist: school supplies, check. School clothes, check. School snacks and lunch ingredients, check. Celebratory wine, check. So what’s missing?
Once school starts, you’ll realize that what you really need is a family message center. It’ll serve as the command center of your home, a place to relay messages, keep track of appointments, events, vacation days, and PTA, and stash all the stuff that comes with the back-to-school rush (notes, projects, permission slips). You’ll wonder how you ever managed without it! (Hint: you didn’t. Remember the field trip fiasco?)

It’s easy to incorporate a message center even if you’re low on space. Just be sure to put it in a central location: the kitchen (where you can regroup at dinner and prepare for the day at breakfast; it’s a great way to use cabinet ends and fridge panels), the study or office, or at an entry point (front door or mudroom).

Ready to get your message center underway? Choose the features to include based on your space, budget, and needs. Start with these suggestions:

  • Message board (white, chalk, or cork; for messages, important notes from school, and art project displays)
  • Charging station
  • Hooks (for keys, accessories, or [if you have enough room] bags)
  • Supplies (magnets, pushpins, markers, chalk)
  • File storage: folders, file organizer, or clipboards with enough space for each family member
  • Calendar
  • Shelves, cabinets, and/or cubbies
  • Clock
  • Desk area (flip-down if you don’t have space; chair or stool optional)

Then check out these awesome message centers for inspiration:

Kitchen by Starline Cabinets
By Chris Hill Pelham
Message Center via Better Homes & Gardens
Entry Message Center. via
Kitchen by Artistic Designs for Living, Tineke Triggs 
Kitchen by Viscusi Elson Interior Design 
Kitchen by Dijeau Poage Construction 
Message Center by Andre Rothblatt Architecture 
Command Center by ktkeller_16 
Kitchen by JandB Kitchen Designs 
Kitchen by Lifestyles Custom Homes & Remodeling, Inc. 
Kitchen by Designers Point 
Kitchen by Jenna Burger Design 
Kitchen by Erin Hurst, CKD 
Kitchen by Great Kitchens & Baths 
Kitchen by Kathleen Donohue, Neil Kelly Co. 
Kitchen by Erin Hurst, CKD
Happy back-to-school!